3 The literature indicates that NPV, IRR, and payback are top-three frequently used valuation techniques. Busby and Pitts (1997) and Graham and Harvey (2001) reveal that only a small percentage of firms have formal procedures to appraise real options.
4 Motivation Capital budgeting literature suggests two important facts: first, conventional capital budgeting techniques are shown to have various theoretical shortcomings, yet still have widespread applications in practice; second, real options techniques are considered as relatively sophisticated analysis tools, yet most firms do not make explicit use of real options techniques to evaluate capital investments. This paper aims to bridge the theory-practice gap by translating real options theory into existing capital budgeting practices.
5 Research Purposes Explore how real options decision criteria can be transformed into equivalent capital budgeting criteria such as NPV, profitability index, hurdle rate, and (discounted) payback. Propose heuristic investment rules in terms of capital budgeting practices to proxy for the inclusion of real options valuation.
6 Modified Capital Budgeting Rules under Real Options (Generalized Expressions) NPV Profitability Index Payback Hurdle Rate Cash Flow Trigger Discounted Payback
7 The Comparison between the Modified Investment Rules and Conventional Rules
12 Numerical Analysis of the Optimal Triggers under Alternative Processes
13 Findings The graph suggests that for a set of reasonable parameter values, both mean reversion and competitive arrivals have a significant influence on lowering optimal triggers, indicating that investment in both cases should be launched sooner than the normal GBM case. It seems that mean reversion has a stronger power to induce investment than the competitive arrival effect.
14 The Comparison between the Modified Investment Rules and Conventional Rules
15 The Cost of Suboptimal Investment Rules under a GBM
16 The Cost of Suboptimal Investment Rules under a Mixed Diffusion-Jump
17 The Cost of Suboptimal Investment Rules under a Mean Reversion
18 Findings The best investment rule under uncertainty is the optimal investment rule itself. However, if a simple heuristic decision rule is used to approximate V*, the rule should be as near as possible in order to minimize the opportunity cost of adopting the suboptimal investment policy.
19 The Process of Developing Heuristics Identify a proper stochastic process Conduct base-case analysis to determine target investment rule Conduct regression analysis and sensitivity analysis to identify key determinants and weights Fine-tuning the weights Determine heuristic rules
20 Optimal Hurdle Rate as a Function of σ and μ under a GBM
21 Optimal Hurdle Rate as a Function of σ and μ under a Mixed Diffusion-Jump
22 Optimal Hurdle Rate as a Function of σ and μ under a Mean Reversion
23 The Sensitivity of Other Capital Budgeting Criteria to σ and μ under a GBM
24 The Sensitivity of Other Capital Budgeting Criteria to σ and μ under a MX Process
38 Implications The heuristic investment rules provide a seemingly accurate approximation to the optimal investment rules by a set of two parameters, volatility and discount rate, under managerial flexibility and uncertainty. Corporate practitioners can apply real options techniques without always carrying out complicated analysis.